Friday, February 6, 2009

Enoteca Turi

I awoke Thursday morning to another day of snow and work ahead of me. I turned on the TV and waited for a knock on the door announcing the arrival of my morning coffee. As the BBC flashed on, I found myself face to face with the grim visage of Gordon Brown, who for some reason decided to announce that we are on the precipice of a global depression. This, after announcing late last year the it was He who saved the global economy with his plan to recapitalize banks.

So what's up with that Gordy?

I must confess that I find these feckless pronouncements from our leaders to be most distressing. What happened to the stiff British upper lip, or the American can do spirit? Why, with an admittedly severe global downturn, have our leaders taken up the cause of cheerleading the economy into oblivion?

And most importantly, what is this loathsome display going to do to our dining establishments?

Well, I may not be able to save the economy, and I certainly can't give everyone a job, but as I sat there watching the vile Head of England pronounce the end of civilization as we know it I vowed that I would do my small part to put the economy on more sound footing.   I would dine at Enoteca Turi that very night!

So after a day in the office, I ventured back to my hotel, dropped my bag and instructed the taxi driver to take me to 28 High Putney Street on the double. I arrived at the restaurant at 730pm on the dot and requested a table for one. Disturbingly, I noted that only three other tables were occupied, and I silently cursed PM Brown's name. Already the knuckle dragging mouth breather was having an impact!

Enoteca advertises itself as a family run restaurant and this certainly seemed to be the case. I was escorted to my table by a matronly sort, and on my way I noted that there were only 4 other wait staff in a place with approximately 30 tables. The menu was limited, but sufficiently varied and I placed my order; Artichoke Cardoons, Spinach and Rosemary Risotto with Chicken Livers, and Milk roasted Pork Shoulder. I also requested a bottle of sparkling water and a bottle of the house primitivo to wash everything down.

The cardoons arrived promptly and looked delicious. I will say that the artichokes themselves, as they had been at Zaferrano earlier in the week, were a bit light on flavor. Perhaps it was the season. Having said that, the dish was quite lovely. The cardoons were stuffed with a light goat cheese and fried perfectly. They were presented in a sort of potato puree with dabs of olive oil and a small mound of crispy leaks was nestled in the center of the plate. As with all of the food here, this dish was not terribly sophisticated, but none-the-less, expertly prepared and quite good.

Next up, the risotto came to my table on a subtle waft of rosemary. This dish is built around the time honored concept of strong herbs and organ meat, as had been my sage and beef kidney at Zafferano. If I were to quibble I would say I enjoy my risotto a tad more toothsome, but otherwise the spinach, rosemary and kidneys were quite lovely.

The final dish, milk roasted pork shoulder was the one I was really anticipating. Milk roasted? Certainly a new concept to me! The shoulder was presented with cabbage and a puree of celeriac and apple with a paper thin slice of dried apple in each mound of puree. Completely delicious! Most interestingly, from the first bite this dish reminded me of thanksgiving, only with a nice hunk of pork instead of turkey. I definitely will try to replicate this at home!

To round out the meal I settled on a polenta cake with blood oranges and mascarpone cream. The perfect finish to a delightful meal.

And so my little contribution to the British dining scene ended with me as a satisfied customer, and Enoteca Turi on the "Must Get Back There" list. Oh, and the sparsely populated tables at the start of dinner that I wrote off to old Gordon's foul influence? Almost completely full by 830pm. 

Harry Truman, a leader who knew a thing or two about leading a country through challenges once said that its a recession when your neighbor loses his job, but a depression when you lose your job.  Perhaps I read old Gordy wrong.  Is there a vote coming up soon by any chance?!

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